This is a 2 day recipe. The first day to make the stock and refrigerate over night. On the second day to degrease the stock and finish the soup. This is slicing and dicing the vegetables and adjusting the flavoring.

I don’t know why, but this soup just brings back good memories of childhood and the beginning of the winter season. I only make it once or twice a year, and it gets better every time I make it. It does require patience, as it definitely is not a 1/2 hour meal, it cannot be rushed, but can be staged so that only the vegetables and seasoning remain to complete the soup the day of serving. As with all soups, it gets better every time it is re heated! Try it with mini soup dumplings!

Hungarian Bean Soup or Bab Leves (bawb LEH-vesh)

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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Hungarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Passive Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Degree of Difficulty : Moderately difficult
Servings: 8 People
Tip : This soup is best prepared after you have served a bone in ham. Just keep the ham bone, leave a little meat on the bone, and use it to make the stock for the soup. Otherwise, look for smoked ham hocks, most grocery stores will have these year around.



  • 1/2 medium Spanish onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic clove crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 meaty ham bone or smoked ham hock
  • 4 cups water or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp black pepper corns


  • meat from ham or ham hock
  • 1 half link ham or chorizo sausage sliced in 1/4" slices (optional)
  • 1 large can navy beans or white kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium Carrots sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 large parsnips peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 bulb root celeriac peeled and diced in small cube (optional)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 small Spanish onion finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp white vinegar or to taste
  • 1 tbsp Chopped parsley for garnish
  • 1/4 cup sour cream



  • Gather ingredients before starting recipe.
  • Combine the stock ingredients in a stock pot and bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from heat and remove ham or ham hock to a plate and refrigerate stock overnight.
  • Remove ham from bones shredding into small pieces and refrigerate.
  • The next day, degrease and gently reheat. Pour liquefied stock through a fine sieve and return to a soup pot. Add shredded ham.
  • Taste for seasoning, there may be enough salt from the ham and the chicken stock, but add if required.


  • Gather ingredients before starting recipe.
  • Peel and slice 2 carrots plus one parsnip, cut into small cubes, and add to stock. Bring stock to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until carrots are tender. Taste for seasoning again, the sweetness in the vegetables may negate some of the seasoning.
  • Slice smoked ham sausage or chorizo into 1/2" slices, and when carrots are tender, add to simmering stock along with the drained white beans.
  • Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan and add 1/2 of a finely diced small onion and sauté until the onion is soft, add 1 tablespoon flour and stir until the flour is well combined and begins to turn a rosy color, then add the paprika, stir for 1 minute and remove from heat.
  • Add 2-3 ladles full of stock to the flour onion mixture and stir with a wire whisk until the mixture is smooth, add to the simmering stock and stir to combine.
  • Add 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of white vinegar and taste, and finally add the chopped parsley as the garnish.


  • Ladle soup into soup bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream.
  • Serve with crusty French or Italian bread.

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